I like to make sense of things. I like to look at life in a linear fashion. With a beginning, a middle, and an end.
I am coming to the realization that my life is a bit more like this timeline. Heading in a general direction but with lots of turns and twists in the journey.
Have you ever felt like you were not really “getting anywhere”? And the follow up question to that is “where is it that you are trying to get to?” From a young age, there always seems to be a “next step”. Elementary school to high school to college to career, to developing relationships; always looking ahead. When I look ahead, this is what I see:
I desperately want to wipe away the fog so I can see clearly. But even if I could, the only point of reference I have for my life is the past. I am now a different version of myself. I am the kindergartner learning how to make new friends; the self conscious teenager in social settings; the twenty something who is transitioning from the comfort of a predictable life to one that is unknown and full of challenges. But I am also a woman who has experienced life in all its abundance. In the last year I sat on the beach in Naples, FL, took a trip on Thomas the Tank Engine, attended a conference in St Louis, MO, relaxed at the NJ Shore, visited the Guiding Eyes puppy training center, worked with dozens and dozens of young volleyball players, had an incredible trip to the Canadian Rockies, traveled New England with the Conn College Camels Vball team, adopted a rescue dog (Xander – more on him another time), sang and danced on the Polar Express, attended a conference in Hartford with my girls, spent a weekend in Newport, RI, and traveled to Durham, North Carolina twice. In less than two weeks, I will go to Haiti to see firsthand the work that has been done with the proceeds from Mike G’s Living Waters golf tournaments. And then back to Durham one last time. I’ve celebrated graduations, new babies, and lives well lived. I applied for and received health insurance through Access Health CT without too many issues this year (yay!). We ran Sound volleyball club and in my other job, I continued to grow in my knowledge of how to run a family foundation. After much thought, I began the process of applying to grad schools for a degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. I continue to learn how to encourage and support my grown daughters through the challenges they face and to celebrate their successes. Every day, my two grandchildren grow and I am amazed at the miracle that they are even here. I thank God for them and the life and joy that they bring. With twists and turns, I experience my new life; sometimes moving forward, sometimes stagnant, sometimes it feels like I am going backwards.
I remember the first time I went to the grocery store after Mike died. It was “just” the grocery store and I had minimal things on my list. It took every ounce of courage I had to walk in there. And the whole time I prayed that I would not see anyone I knew. I remember telling myself to keep putting one foot in front of the other and just do it. With each of the things I mentioned in the first paragraph, I had to tell myself to put one foot in front of the other and just do it. It is only with great intentionality that I am able to do these things. It requires energy in the anticipation of the event, courage in the action, and patience in the recovery. There are flashes of melancholy and sadness. Sometimes tears come at awkward times. And then there are moments of pure joy when I feel alive and brave and strong and I can hear Mike cheering me on, “You’re doing it Trish! I knew you could!!”.
And then I stop.
And wonder what happened?! How did all of this happen? To me? To us?
And so I sit. Sometimes for a minute. Sometimes much longer, until I am ready to choose to be brave and have hope that today I may be able to see through the haze; just a bit. But even if I can’t, I remind myself to take one step. And life slowly swings back to the present where I do the next thing and the next thing after that.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9